Dangerous recreational activity

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A dangerous recreational activity is recreational activity which involves a significant risk of physical harm.[1]. To qualify as such an activity, an activity must:

  1. Be a recreational activity, which includes engaging in:
    • (a) Any sport (whether organised or not).
    • (b) Any activity for pleasure, relaxation etc.
    • (c) Any activity in a place used for the sport/pleasure etc.
  2. Involve a significant risk, which is:
    • "somewhere between a trivial risk and a risk likely to materialise."[2]

If such requirements are satisfied, an activity is considered a dangerous recreational activity. Once this has been established, a plaintiff's claim can be defeated if:

  • The plaintiff's harm resulted from the materialisation of an obvious risk of such a dangerous recreational activity.[3]
  • Note: this applies even if the plaintiff was unaware of the risk.[4]

If these requirements are also satisfied, the plaintiff's claim will be defeated and the defendant will escape liability. This is a complete defence.


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Textbook refers to Sappideen, Vines, Grant & Watson, Torts: Commentary and Materials (Lawbook Co, 10th ed, 2009).

CLA refers to Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW)

  1. CLA, s 5K
  2. Fallas v Mourlas [2006] NSWCA 32, at [18] (Ipp J)
  3. CLA, s 5L (1)
  4. CLA, s 5L (2)

This article is a topic within the subject Torts.

Required Reading

Sappideen, Vines, Grant & Watson, Torts: Commentary and Materials (Lawbook Co, 10th ed, 2009), pp. 421-234 [12.05-12.15].

Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW), Division 5 (ss 5J-5N)

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